Volkswagen Motorsport completed Day 1 of its swansong outing with two Michelin-equipped Polo R WRCs on top in Australia. Mikkelsen leads Ogier.
Andreas Mikkelsen boosted his bid for 2016’s runner-up honours by winning five of Friday’s 11 stages. The Norwegian survived the hot weather (35°C) to build up a lead of 15.4s over team-mate Sébastien Ogier who suffered on the day’s gravel-carpeted tests.
Hyundai/Michelin’s Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon, who are also in contention for this year’s silver medal, follow in third and fourth places, split by 1.2s. Team-mate Dani Sordo started well before taking a 20-second penalty.
Jari-Matti Latvala (VW/Michelin) lost time when he clouted a bridge on SS1, while M-Sport’s Mads Ostberg and Eric Camilli (Ford/Michelin) are up to fifth and sixth spots.
Esapekka Lappi (Skoda/Michelin) is the WRC2 leader and seems to heading for the class’s title.